Three White students at Colorado high school re-enact George Floyd's murder, 'disgusting' photo sparks outrage

Photos that were shared via Snapchat show the trio recreating the arrest of Floyd by former police officer Derek Chauvin by posing with a knee on one pupil’s neck; one of the student was in blackface


                            Three White students at Colorado high school re-enact George Floyd's murder, 'disgusting' photo sparks outrage
Current and former students of Mead High School protested after the photo went viral; Derek Chauvin (Minneapolis Police)

MEAD, COLORADO: On the morning of Friday, May 21, several students at Mead High School protested outside school grounds after a picture was posted on social media that showed three students seemingly re-enacting the murder of George Floyd. One of the three White students wore a blackface.

Photos that were shared via Snapchat show the trio recreating the arrest of Floyd by former police officer Derek Chauvin by posing with a knee on one pupil’s neck. 

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Protesters march on Hiawatha Avenue while decrying the killing of George Floyd on May 26, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Four Minneapolis police officers have been fired after a video taken by a bystander was posted on social media showing Floyd's neck being pinned to the ground by an officer as he repeatedly said, "I can’t breathe". Floyd was later pronounced dead while in police custody after being transported to Hennepin County Medical Center. (Getty Images)

St Vrain Valley School District superintendent reportedly confirmed on Thursday, May 20, 2021, that the district was investigating the case, but couldn't share the disciplinary action the students were facing as the photo was taken on school grounds. 

"It was brought to my attention that a disturbing and disgusting social media post depicting the re-enactment of the murder of George Floyd was made by a group of students from Mead High School,” Don Haddad, EdD said in a post on the district’s website.

A blackface and a recreation

The upsetting image features a White boy in blackface lying face-down on concrete. Two other students wearing hoodies hold his hands behind his back. One of them has his knee on the boy's neck, while the other has a knee on his back.

In this photo provided by the Minnesota Department of Corrections, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin poses for a booking photo after his conviction April 21, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Chauvin was found guilty on all three charges in the murder of George Floyd. (Getty Images)

Re-enacting the Derek Chauvin kneel

The trio appears to be re-enacting the moment that former Minneapolis police officer Chaivin was filmed pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes. Floyd cried he couldn’t breathe and went motionless but Chauvin did not budge, even when people filming the incident and those watching started protesting. Floyd's death sparked Black Lives Matter protests across the US. 

Chauvin was arrested on May 25 in 2020, and roughly a year later, was convicted in April 2021 of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Fellow students furious 

On Friday, a group of at least 45 students and some recent graduates of the school gathered to protest the incident, adding they were disgusted and embarrassed by the photo. "As a Black person, it’s not okay to see people taking that as a joke and making it funny because it’s not," said Kara Bee, a sophomore at Mead High school, according to a local news report, adding, "It’s disgusting."

The group marched across the campus and then sat in silence for 8 minutes in Floyd's memory. 

"It shows that people really do care and people want to see change the same way I do," Bee said of her classmates who joined the protest. "I think it’s important to speak up about these issues and not just sweep them under the rug," Bee said.

A mural painted by artist Kenny Altidor depicting George Floyd is unveiled on a sidewall of CTown Supermarket on July 13, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough New York City. George Floyd was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis and his death has sparked a national reckoning about race and policing in the United States. (Getty Images)

"They need to expel the kids that did this," said sophomore Sarah Steere, adding that she wished her school was more united. "Nobody really talks to each other," she said. "They’re all in certain little groups and I don’t think that’s okay. I think we should be - everybody should be talking to everybody instead of all separating from different cultures."

A student who graduated four years ago said she joined the protest as it seemed that the issue never changed. "Four years ago, we were dealing with race in this school, too," Martinez said. "Anything like that should not be tolerated by anybody."

A Change.org petition shows the three students, including the one with blackface. At the time of writing this article, 8,131 people had signed it seeking accountability from the students engaged in the act. The creator of the signature campaign wrote that racial discrimination at the high school needs to be addressed. "Having such students re-create a humiliating death is disgusting, they have dishonoured themselves and the name in our school. In our school people have raced racial discrimination and it won’t be allowed. THESE KIDS NEED TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS. "

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